Types of Golf Clubs, Their Names, and Uses

Maybe you’re just starting out with golf and finally got your hands on a bag full of clubs.  It’s an exciting time! 

But now the challenge is figuring what all these different clubs are used for.  Not only that, but what the heck are they called?

If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed with all of golf’s terminology and want to know what each of your clubs are called and used for, keep reading.  We’ve laid it all out for you below.

Golf Club Names and Their Uses


Perhaps the most well-known golf club is the driver.  This is the longest club in your bag and the one that goes the farthest.  

Your driver is what you’ll typically use from the tee on par fours and par fives for your first shot.  For that reason, it’s always hit off a tee. 

The advantage of using a tee with your driver is that the sweet spot is higher in the face and elevated above the ground. 

Fairway Woods

Fairway woods look similar to your driver but have smaller profile clubheads.  They’re also slightly shorter in length. 

Fairway woods are usually numbered with odd numbers between three and seven, though two-woods and four-woods aren’t uncommon.

If you aren’t hitting your driver straight, teeing off with a fairway wood can be a good strategy to help keep the ball in play.

Once you’re in the fairway, these clubs are designed to move the ball a good distance through the air and keep it rolling toward your target once it hits the ground. 

The most common fairway woods are three-woods and five-woods. 

It’s important to remember that the higher the number on your fairway woods, the more loft they have, and the higher they’ll go. 

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In between your fairway woods and irons are your hybrids.  These clubs are called hybrids because they have a similar shape to fairway woods but are closer to irons in size. 

Even though they’re smaller than fairway woods, hybrids are easier to hit out of difficult lies. 

Because they’re shorter in length than fairway woods and have more loft, they fly higher but don’t travel as far. 

Hybrids are a great option for beginners and players with slower swing speeds because they’re forgiving and make it easy to get the ball in the air. 

Additionally, if you have trouble hitting your long irons consistently, hybrids make a great alternative.

Long Irons

Hence their name, long irons are the longest length irons in your bag.  They also have the least amount of loft, so they travel the farthest. 

Long irons are numbered one through four, with one-irons being the least common of the lot.  Just like fairway woods, the higher the number the iron, the more loft it has.  Lower numbered irons travel lower and farther than higher numbered irons. 

Like we said above, long irons can be difficult to hit.  As a result, many golfers opt for hybrids instead. 

Mid Irons

The mid irons in your set are those numbered five through seven.  These clubs are most often used for tee shots on par threes and mid-length approach shots on par fours. 

As their name suggests, these irons are shorter in length and have more loft than long irons.  But they’re longer and have less loft than short irons. 

If you’re just learning the game, mid irons are great clubs to practice with because their length represents an average of all the clubs in your set.

Short Irons

Short irons are considered those with numbers eight, and nine.  Some golfers might consider seven-irons in this category as well. 

You’ll most often use your short irons for tee shots on short par threes and approaches into par fours and par fives. 

Most golfers consider these the easiest irons to hit because they’re the shortest.  Their loft also makes it easy to get the ball in the air. 

When hit correctly, these clubs will make the ball fly high and stop quickly on the green. 

Pitching Wedge

Out of all your wedges, your pitching wedge has the least amount of loft, but it still has less loft than your nine-iron.  As a result, it will fly higher and not quite as far as your nine-iron. 

While your pitching wedge is great for full swings, it also comes in handy when you’re faced with a chip from just off the green. 

Pitching wedge lofts vary between 44 and 50 degrees depending on the brand and model.

Approach Wedge

Also called a gap wedge, your approach wedge fills in the gap between your sand and pitching wedge.

Similar to your pitching wedge, your approach wedge is great for both full shots and finesse shots around the green.

Approach wedges are shorter in length than pitching wedges and have a little more loft.  Lofts range from 50 to 55 degrees. 

Sand Wedge

Your sand wedge is the club you’ll most often use out of greenside bunkers.  That’s because of the bounce on the back of the club that allows it to glide through sand and keeps it from digging.

The bunker isn’t the only place you can use your sand wedge though.  It’s useful from the fairway like your other wedges, but also comes in handy for a variety of short game shots where you need more loft to stop the ball quickly. 

Most sand wedges have a loft between 55 and 57 degrees. 

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Lob Wedge

Of all the wedges in your bag, your lob wedge is the shortest and has the most loft.  It’s meant to get the ball in the air from short range. 

Lofts can be as little as 58 degrees and as much as 68 degrees.

Don’t expect to hit your lob wedge as far as your other wedges.


Your putter is unlike any other club in your bag, but it’s the most important.  That’s because as many as half your shots come on the putting green.

Most traditional putters come in lengths ranging from 34” to 36” but there are many different styles. 

Mallet heads are great for beginners because they offer the most forgiveness.  For players that like a more traditional look, blade-style putters afford more touch and responsiveness.

Whatever putter you choose, it should be one that you like the look of and inspires confidence.


If you’re new to the game of golf, looking at a bag full of strange looking clubs can be intimidating.  You aren’t sure what each one is called, let alone what they’re all used for. 

But we’ve got your back at Golfer’s Authority.  Anytime you forget about your clubs’ names or what they’re used for, just look back at this article.

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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